Genistein induces topoisomerase IIbeta- and proteasome-mediated DNA sequence rearrangements: Implications in infant leukemia

Anna M. Azarova, Ren K. Lin, Yuan Chin Tsai, Leroy F. Liu, Chao P. Lin, Yi Lisa Lyu

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Genistein is a bioflavonoid enriched in soy products. However, high levels of maternal soy consumption have been linked to the development of infant leukemia ALL and AML. The majority of infant leukemia is linked to mixed lineage leukemia gene (MLL) translocations. Previous studies have implicated topoisomerase II (Top2) in genistein-induced infant leukemia. In order to understand the roles of the two Top2 isozymes in and the molecular mechanism for genistein-induced infant leukemia, we carried out studies in vitro using purified recombinant human Top2 isozymes, as well as studies in cultured mouse myeloid progenitor cells (32Dc13) and Top2β knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). First, we showed that genistein efficiently induced both Top2α and Top2β cleavage complexes in the purified system as well as in cultured mouse cells. Second, genistein induced proteasomal degradation of Top2β in 32Dc13 cells. Third, the genistein-induced DNA double-strand break (DSB) signal, γ-H2AX, was dependent on the Top2β isozyme and proteasome activity. Fourth, the requirement for Top2β and proteasome activity was mirrored in genistein-induced DNA sequence rearrangements, as monitored by a DNA integration assay. Together, our results suggest a model in which genistein-induced Top2β cleavage complexes are processed by proteasome, leading to the exposure of otherwise Top2β-concealed DSBs and subsequent chromosome rearrangements, and implicate a major role of Top2β and proteasome in genistein-induced infant leukemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Genistein
  • Infant leukemia
  • MLL translocation
  • Proteasome
  • Topoisomerase IIbeta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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